Rattler/Firebird Association

Charles Michael Cotton

Name Charles Michael Cotton
Rank/Grade CWO - W2 - Army - Reserve
Age 21
Marital Status Married
Race Caucasian
Gender Male
Date of Birth Jul 13, 1946
From Angleton, Texas
Length of Service 2 years
Tour Began Jul 12, 1967
Casualty Date Jun 19, 1968
Hostile/Non-Hostile   HOSTILE
Body Recovered Yes
Religion Methodist

Vietnam Memorial


Panel 56W - - Line 32
Charles Michael Cotton

Visitor Comments

Posted by:Gary White
Date:Saturday, June 22, 2002 8:48 PM UTC
Relationship:Served together/Friend
From:Overland Park, KS
Comments:Charlie was a guy that everyone liked. Large groups of us used to all gather in his hooch in the evening. Charlie would play the guitar, which he did very well, and we’d sit around and sing and lie to one another. I only knew him a short time, but Charlie was the first friend that I lost in Vietnam and I still miss him after 34 years. His was a life cut tragically short when he should have been destined for so much more. Rest in peace my friend.

Posted by:Ron Seabolt
Date:Tuesday, June 25, 2002 7:23 PM UTC
Comments:Charlie Cotton was killed on the last lift of the last day that he would have flown on his tour in Vietnam. The men sure speak highly of him. RIP!

Posted by:Billy M White
Date:Tuesday, July 30, 2002 9:09 AM UTC
Relationship:Fellow pilot--acquaintance/friend.
From:Springfield, Va.
Comments:My first flight in Vietnam was with Charlie as the Senior Aircraft Commander. We were on a comabat assault near LZ West. I was immediatley taken by his piloting skills. Charlie was within 9 days of DEROS and on his last in country flight. I came to have tremendous respect for Charlie and have thought of him often. Each time I visit the wall I look for his name. God rest your soul my friend.

Posted by:Will Nichols
Date:Sunday, August 4, 2002 1:50 AM UTC
Relationship:SON of Reed Ell Nichols, who served wit
From:San Antonio, TX
Comments:My dad is Sgt. Reed Nichols, from Beaumont, TX, A supply sgt, from Apr '68-Jan'69, HHC 5/46 Infantry. When I was an adolescent, I took my Dad to the Wall in DC. I will never forget the look of pain and despair on his face the moment he located Charlie Cotton's name on the wall. For three days I think I actually saw my dad regain "the thousand yard stare." From that day on I have considered Charlie Cotton a personal hero of mine based on the affection and respect that my dad obviously felt towards him. Today, 8/3/2002, I found a letter dated Thurdsay, June 20, 1968. In it, my dad writes: "One of my very best friends was killed yesterday. His name was Warrent Officer II Charles Cotton from Freeport (a town near Angleton) and one of our Chopper Pilots. . . Yesterday was his LAST day to fly tomorrow he was supposed to meet his wife in Hawaii for R&R then go home. While flying one of our resupply missions to an element in the mountains he was shot in the head. Needless to say I was shocked to hear of this. All the guys in my crew had pitched together and bought him a farewell gift, then we got the news. You can take this war and cram it in LBJ's face, it just doesn't make much sense. It seems that it's the good guys who always get it. . ." Though I'm the SON of a man who served with Mr. Cotton, I salute him as a hero. One day I will help my own son find Charlie's name on the monument in DC, and tell him about how he served with Grandpa. God bless your soul, Mr. Cotton.

Posted by:Michael Cotton
Date:Friday, August 16, 2002 1:13 PM UTC
From:Austin, Texas
Comments:Wow. I was testing an internet search on my name when I found this site. Uncle Mike -- or Charlie as he seems to have been known in Vietnam -- was my uncle. I never met him, but his shadow has stretched long across my life.

I've heard a million stories about him, and am always happy to hear more.
On behalf of my family, I'd like to thank y'all for remembering him here.

Posted by:James J. Hansen
Date:Wednesday, November 6, 2002 1:58 AM UTC
Relationship:very good friend
From:Nashville Tn.
Comments:Charlie was not like any officer you ever met, he would come over to our hooch to talk to me and Arthur as if he had known us all his life.I can't get the image out of my head of the pilot seat tilted back and the amount of blood still in the seat from him , He was one of the best,i'll never forget you charlie, and all the talks we had i truly miss your wit.

Posted by:Brian Bagnall
Date:Monday, May 5, 2003 9:54 PM UTC
From:Carrollton, Texas
Comments:I met Mike Cotton in May, 1966 shortly after entered the army at Fort Polk. We were both members of C/2/2 and were billeted as part of the 4th Platoon, which was composed of trainees mainly from Texas. Mike was a free spirit, very intelligent and an absolute hoot to be around. We quickly became fast friends. Mike entered flight school at Fort Wolters with WORWAC 67-5. It was there that Mike asked me to be the best man at his wedding. I was honored and secured a two day pass to stand next to him as he married Diane. His parents were great people and so was his younger brother Gary. Mike and his family made me feel totally at home. After the wedding Mike and Diane left for Fort Rucker to finish flight school and then on to Vietnam. He and his wife spent barely four months together before they were separated. I left for OCS at Fort Sill and after a while entered Flight School myself. Diane and Mrs.Cotton drove up to Dallas and attended my wedding when I was enroute to Rucker. Three weeks later Mike was killed. What a tragedy.... I still think of him all the time, his laugh, his love of music (gosh he could play the guitar!), his jokes, his stories, these and a million other memories. I have run across many of the Helicopter Fraternity and we speak fondly of Mike. He was one of the best of the best! I have included him and his family in my prayers for over thirty years now and know that one day he, I, and all of the other rotor-heads will all be together telling whoppers and cooling it...

Posted by:Richard D. Bleecker
Date:Thursday, September 18, 2003 5:14 PM UTC
Relationship:Crewchief of slick at time of his death
From:University Place, WA. 98467
Comments:Although WO Cotton was not my usual pilot, I did have an opportunity to fly with him on many other occasions.

WO Cotton was very thorough in his duties and responsibilities as a pilot, which made it a pleasure to crew for him. WO Cotton always treated myself and my gunner with the up most respect, never allowing the difference in rank to become an issue.

In my mind WO Charles Cotton was and will always be a true professional, someone I'll always admire because of the competent manner in which he did his duty.

On June 19th, 1968 while flying out of Quang Tin. Are slick was just leaving the fire base at the top of a ridgeline, when we took what sounded like one round of enemy gun fire. As we were just pulling out over the rice paddies below the one round found it's way threw to WO Cotton's head. As he was in control of our aircraft at that time I had no idea why we nosed into the ground until later when are door gunner said he collapsed on the stick.

After getting WO Cotton out of our aircraft and onto a rescue bird, we immediately headed to the field hospital at Chu Lai. As a 19 year old with no understanding of trauma to the head, nor it's effect on the various bodily systems. We naturally had some disagreement about WO Cotton's status at the field hospital landing zone. After 25 years in the emergency medical field, I have since learned what a coreman knew/ and was trying to tell me back then. He was dead before we landed in Chu Lai.

People can talk about the pros and cons of being there, but none of that should ever take away from the values and beliefs that WO Cotton held high enough to give his life for. He was truely a good man to have known.

Posted by:Mike Harris
Date:Tuesday, March 8, 2005 5:37 PM UTC
From:Cedar Creek, TX
Comments:I knew Mike and his younger brother Gary in my childhood in Angleton,TX. Mike played lead guitar and Gary the drums in a band my older brothe Pat was in. Mike was always the greatest person to be around. As a rock and roll hero of mine I admired him greatly. He gave me my first pair of "Beatle Boots" that had belonged to his cousin who was a star on a rock and roll show called "Where The Action Is". Mike spent a great deal of time at our house and was an additional big brother. He always had time for everyone it seemed. When I voluntered for Vienam in '71, I wanted so much to avenge his death. This was not to be and I don't believe Mike would've wanted this anyway. His love of friends and music will never be forgotten.

Posted by:Michael Pinchera
Date:Wednesday, March 15, 2006 7:44 PM UTC
Relationship:2nd Cousin
From:Seattle, WA
Comments:I was five when the family lost Mike. I grew up with the stories of my mothers memories of Michael growing up, happy times spent listening to the "garage band".

I want to thank his brothers in arms for sharing their memories and showing respect. Thank you all for your service.

Posted by:TIM JONES
Date:Monday, May 16, 2011 2:13 AM UTC
From:Angleton Tx
Comments:went to school with mike we played in a band togather for school functions and partys he was a great friend i miss him

Posted by:Martha Bowers Weldon
Date:Sunday, May 29, 2011 4:36 PM UTC
Relationship:good friend
From:Fort Worth, TX
Comments:Mike and I attended Angleton schools from first grade to graduation. In our last years of high school, Mike, Jim Howell and I formed a trio called "The Trends." We practiced in my mom's teensy living room - his prowess on guitar were legendary. He was an amazing and talented young man - a very good friend.

We lost touch after graduation - I went to Corpus Christi to school and he ended up in the military. I was pregnant with my first son when Mike was killed - I miss him! What an eerie and touching experience to find his name on the Viet Nam memorial in DC. RIP my friend!

Posted by:Alice Woodside Lynch
Date:Sunday, May 29, 2011 4:47 PM UTC
Relationship:attended Angleton High School
From:Jonesboro, AR
Comments:I was in high school when Mike died. I recall his brother Gary wearing Mike's jacket after that, and every time I saw it, I thought about how another young life had been snuffed out in Vietnam. Rest in peace, Mike. You paid the ultimate sacrifice. We will not forget you.

Posted by:Murray Montgomery
Date:Sunday, May 29, 2011 6:20 PM UTC
From:Hallettsville, Texas
Comments:I knew Mike, briefly, through my younger sister. My family lived in Angleton, Texas, at the time. My brother, Joel, also served in Vietnam as a helicopter door gunner. Our family was fortunate in that Joel survived, but everyone in town knew Of Mike Cotton's bravery. He was a wonderful young man.

Posted by:Charles L. Woodside, Major, USAF (Ret)
Date:Sunday, May 29, 2011 9:08 PM UTC
Relationship:attended Angleton High School
From:San Antonio, Texas
Comments:I was a young two-striper in the Air Force when Mike was killed. I hitced a ride with the Fort Sam Houston Funeral detail to the funeral at the Methodist Church in Angleton. I can still see the look on the face of his young widow as she turned for one more look at his coffin at the cemetery. Rest in Peace.
Thank you for your service

Posted by:Mary Stockwell
Date:Sunday, May 29, 2011 9:55 PM UTC
Relationship:High school friend
Comments:Mike was one of the nicest guys I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. He bought the first painting I ever sold. $5.00, which was a lot for a high school kid then. He wanted to be the first to own one.

Posted by:Vicki Baker Goode
Date:Monday, May 30, 2011 12:23 AM UTC
Comments:Mike Cotton has long been remembered and often talked about in my family. He was a classmate and dear friend of my younger sister. I know that he brought much fun and happiness to the lives of a lot of people in his short life. Well done Mike thank you for your service to our county.

Posted by:James Etenburn
Date:Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:55 PM UTC
Relationship:Childhood friend
Comments:Mike lived down the street from me from grade school through to graduation. Mike was a great guitar player. Mike also liked Drama and was in several plays. Mike was a dear friend and I will miss him all my life. I understand he was an excellent helicopter pilot as well. He actually died after saving a lot of soldiers by going back and back to pick them up ignoring the enemy fire that eventually cost him his life. He had a reputation as both an excellent pilot and fearless of enemy fire. He will be missed by all our classmates.


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